What To Do When you Get Pulled Over
Everyone is likely to get pulled over by police at least once in their life, if not many more times. Whether for a traffic violation, a speeding ticket, or something else, the things you should do when getting pulled over are usually the same for every incident. Remember, put yourself in the officer’s situation. Random traffic stops are reportedly the second most dangerous and unpredictable situations in law enforcement, right behind domestic disputes. Here are some basic things to do when you’re pulled over.
While Being Pulled Over
Even before you pull over, turn on your flashers to acknowledge you’ve seen the officer’s lights and plan to pull over.
Pull over to a safe area, usually the shoulder of a road, or the next exit if you’re on a busy freeway. If you need to travel a short distance before your next available stopping point, drive slower than you usually would, so it doesn’t look like you’re trying to outrun the officer.
Above all else, stay in your car. Nothing shouts “aggressive driver” like someone immediately getting out of their car when stopped.
Take some deep breaths and relax. It’s normal to be anxious and to have your heart race, but unless you’ve done something elicit or illegal (or have drugs or something in the car), you really have nothing to worry about.
Keep your hands on the steering wheel. If you plan on reaching for something, such as your driver’s license in your glove compartment, ask the officer’s permission to do so. There’s no quicker way to get a gun pulled on you than acting shifty and reaching for something the officer can’t see.
In the Process of a Citation or Moving Violation
Don’t admit wrongdoing! This plays a big part if you plan on fighting the ticket. Most officers have a camera on their uniform these days, and an admission of guilt will hamper your odds of fighting the ticket.
Sometimes, however, if you apologize and immediately take responsibility, that may work, and you might not have to be fighting a ticket. If you roll through a stop sign, for instance, and immediately apologize, the officer could let you off with a warning.
Move deliberately and wait for the officer to ask for your documents. Ideally, you would have your Driver’s License and Registration at hand before the officer even gets to you, but if not, don’t make sudden movements.
If you’re carrying a gun, let the officer know. This should be obvious.
Politeness, Safety, and Knowing Your Rights When Pulled Over
Be civil, and don’t argue. This always works much better than being a know-it-all or trying to prove you know the law. That will only work to aggravate the officer, and you’re more likely to get a ticket or get into an altercation.
Remember that you don’t have to consent to a search. Unless you’re a Fourth Waiver, the officer needs probable cause to search your vehicle. Probable cause would be if they smell something, if you’re acting strangely, or something along those lines. They may ask, “You don’t mind if I take a look in your car, do you?” Even though you may not be doing anything illegal, it’s a good idea to exercise your Fourth Amendment right.
Finally, be safe when merging back into traffic! This should go without saying, but people often are in such a hurry to go about their day and get away from the police officer, they don’t check their mirrors when leaving the scene, and end up in a car crash.
With these simple tips, getting pulled over should be a smooth occasion, and hopefully one without a ticket or arrest. If you need any help with a traffic citation, violation, or infraction, don’t hesitate to contact Liberty Lawyers today.